Planning for an In-Person Spring

Dear CC Community,

Half Block is underway, we are welcoming Winter Start and transfer students, and soon we will begin Block 5. I want to express my gratitude for all that you do and continue to do during these challenging times. Our goal is to remain in person, and we can’t accomplish this without your continued efforts and cooperation.

I am writing to update you on how we are managing COVID for the second half of the academic year. Additionally, while our many communications about protocols share what we are doing, today I also want to explain why.

Our COVID-19 Policy and Implementation Committee (led by Mateo Muñoz, chair, and Andrea Bruder, chief public health advisor to the president) continues to monitor campus, local, and county COVID conditions; confer with national public health advisors; and consider our priorities, needs, and capacities as it makes decisions.

As you know, instances of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 are growing in the United States. In response to the Omicron wave, CPIC has temporarily adapted our COVID response to 1) reduce the likelihood of large outbreaks, 2) minimize the possibility of serious illness and hospitalizations, and 3) meet the needs of those affected by COVID. Fortunately, we are a highly vaccinated community (98% of CC faculty, almost 97% of CC students, and almost 91% of CC staff) and the risk of serious illness and hospitalization is low for fully vaccinated people.

While many other institutions began teaching remotely this semester to give them time to contend with Omicron, we have not had to do so thanks to the excellent planning of our CPIC and because our protocols were designed to adapt to a range of circumstances. Additionally, the resources available to us as an urban campus allowed us to find additional space for isolating students near CC – something that more remote campuses could not do.

To prioritize in-person instruction and campus life for the brief duration of the Omicron wave, we are taking the following precautions:

  • Testing all students twice weekly and encouraging staff and faculty to test twice weekly. Why? Because screening testing identifies infections, regardless of whether symptoms exist, so that people can isolate and protect others. Testing reduces the overall number of symptomatic and asymptomatic infections and keeps quarantine and isolation to a minimum. This means that we can continue to be together in person.
  • Requiring KN95 or similar filtration masks indoors in all public places. Why? Because COVID is airborne, and high-quality masks filter and greatly reduce the amount of inhaled aerosols.
  • Encouraging students to limit social interactions to a “pod” of up to five students. Why? Because doing so can slow the spread of infection when case numbers are high, while still maintaining some social interaction, which is so important to our mental well-being.

Once the Omicron wave is over, we will adjust the frequency of testing, lift our additional precautions on social interactions, and resume regular dining. As the pandemic continues to evolve, the way we manage it will also evolve. Our CPIC team and the many dedicated staff and faculty working with them will continue to adapt our plans as necessary. Barring something unexpected, we plan to have meaningful and celebratory gatherings for Commencement and its associated events.

We are all tired of changing protocols. Yet, we must learn to coexist with COVID. Importantly, living with COVID does not mean that we ignore it. Rather, it means that we continue to do what we have been doing  adapting to guard against the worst outcomes so that we can remain on campus, together.

The CPIC team and I will continue to keep you informed. Thank you for your partnership in allowing us to maintain an in-person campus experience.


L. Song Richardson


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